In the past few weeks, a lot has changed for the lives of many Americans. From take-out only orders at restaurants to having to stay six feet apart from others around us, there is a lot to get used to. For many (myself included), it has been disorienting for daily life to be totally upheaved and to be met with a new normal. In my last article, I wrote about the importance of all of us coming together for the greater good of Clearwater and our community as a whole. I am so happy to see that during these times of uncertainty people have been coming together, to help one another through this, because we are truly all in this together.
Unfortunately for many, they have been hit very hard by the coronavirus. Especially for the service industry, it has been disappointing to see local businesses aching through these challenging and unprecedented times. Over the past few days, I have had a chance to reflect on some of the local businesses I have been fortunate enough to work with here in our community, and I always think back to one in particular that did so much good. I remember first hearing about Nancy O’Neill and her restaurant Nauti Nancy’s, when I worked with a group that was organizing an appreciation dinner. I remember that the group was looking for someone who would be willing to cater that event and to provide the various courses of the meal.
Although I didn’t personally know Nancy, based on what I had heard I was confident that she would provide a wonderful meal. Throughout the evening, I got to work with Nancy – through setting the tables and organizing plates – and it was that night I realized her restaurant was something special. It was more than just a place for people to come and eat, it was a place with a purpose of bettering our community. Through other events that I attended that took place at her restaurant such as holiday parties and other social gatherings, it was evident that her local business made a positive and lasting impact. Sadly, Nauti Nancy’s is no longer open, and as much as I miss the delicious cheeseburgers and Cuban sandwiches, I miss the restaurant’s presence in our community most of all.
Today there are so many wonderful businesses across our community that have the same goal of making a positive difference. Through these times of uncertainty, I’ve thought about what we can do to support these businesses now so when these difficult times have passed, businesses will still be there to provide assistance to us.
This week I have visited several local restaurants in Clearwater and spoke speak with the owners about how these changes are affecting them. Although some restaurants have said that they are struggling, it has been refreshing to hear that many businesses have been doing well, thanks to the support by patrons.
The culmination of news and events that have transpired over the last few weeks has been nothing like I have ever seen before in my lifetime, and upon talking with others who have lived through other challenging times, they too claim to have never seen something like this before. In a way, it seems that things have been totally flipped upside down. But in these times of unpredictability, I have always found it comforting to be surrounded by that which is familiar. We do not like things to change. Through these rapidly evolving times, what’s always been reassuring to me is to see things, places and people that I know have not changed.
During this outbreak, it is so important to continue practicing social distancing to ensure that less people are infected with the coronavirus. But through these uncharted times, there is still the ability to visit restaurants for take-out and local businesses which have put safety as their top priority. Through supporting local businesses, not only are you helping to keep a business alive, you have the opportunity to be greeted with a sign of familiarity. As long as it is safe, I plan to continue supporting these local businesses and I certainly hope that you will too. Together, I do believe we will emerge through this time stronger and more united – and that’s my take.
Together, I do believe we will emerge through this time stronger and more united – and that’s my take.
Sean Schrader is a Sophmore at the University of South Florida, and is studying Business Administration. Sean has always enjoyed being active throughout Clearwater, and has had the opportunity to work with groups such as the Clearwater Neighborhoods Coalition, the Clearwater Charter Review Committee, and the YMCA of the Suncoast. Through his articles, Sean hopes to provide a positive outlook on some of the issues impacting our local community.